May 5, 2011, 1:32 PM

Amazon adds a fulfillment center in Washington State

The e-retailer gets a warm welcome to expand operations in its home state.

Lead Photo Inc. will open a new fulfillment center this summer in its home state of Washington, the company announced yesterday. The e-retailer says it will hire several hundred people to full-time jobs and several hundred more on a seasonal basis.

The 500,000-square-foot fulfillment center will be located in Sumner, WA, less than an hour’s drive from the e-retailer’s headquarters in Seattle. Unlike some of Amazon’s recent expansion attempts at building fulfillment centers in other states, Sumner officials are giving the No. 1 e-retailer a warm welcome. “We couldn’t be more pleased,” says Dave Enslow, Sumner’s mayor.

Amazon has nixed plans to build or expand fulfillment centers in several states, including Texas and South Carolina, in recent months due to legislative challenges from state governments that want the e-retailer to collect and remit sales tax for purchases made by residents in those states. The e-retailer also has cut ties with advertising affiliates in such states as California and Illinois that have passed legislation that would require the e-retailer to collect tax on purchases in those states if it worked with in-state affiliates.

Amazon already collects sales tax on purchases by Washington residents because the company is based there.

Amazon did not say how many fulfillment centers it operates. Investment firm Goldman Sachs estimated earlier this year that the retailer operates approximately 60 fulfillment centers around the world, 28 of which are in the U.S. It also estimated that the retailer would add 7 million more square feet of distribution and fulfillment space globally this year. Amazon opened 13 distribution centers worldwide last year and plans to add nine more this year, four or five of them in North America, chief financial officer Thomas Szkutak told analysts last week after the e-retailer reported its first quarter financial results.

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